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Duterte Bans Public Smoking In The Philippines

Photo: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

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Thomas Phippen Acting Editor-In-Chief
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President Rodrigo Duterte banned public smoking and vaping in the Philippines with an executive order Thursday.

The ban comes with punishments of up to five years in prison and a 5,000 peso ($100) fine, The New York Times reports.

Duterte’s executive order prohibits smoking outside of designated smoking areas which can be no more than 12 square yards (about 10 feet by ten feet), and must be 33 feet away from building entrances, Filipino news agency ABS-CBN reports.

The order also prohibits children under 18 from “using, selling or buying cigarettes or tobacco products.” City police and law enforcement will implement the ban, but the order asks citizens to create a “Smoke Free Task Force to help carry out the provisions of this order.” (RELATED: Duterte Suddenly Decides Enough ‘Drug Dealers’ Have Died)

The order is similar to one Duterte enacted as mayor of Davao City, located in the southern Philippines, in 2002.

Around half of all Filipino men smoke in the second-most populous Southeast Asian nation. Only about 9 percent of women in the Philippines smoke. Experts say the habit costs the economy nearly $4 billion in annual healthcare and productivity losses.

Duterte himself is a former smoker, but gave up the habit along with drinking years ago after fighting an esophagus disease known as Barrett’s and a Beurgers, a rare disease that affects arteries and veins in the arms and legs.

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